Mandelbulber, generate your own 3D fractals in Ubuntu

about mandelbulber

In the next article we are going to take a look at Mandelbulber. This program will allow users to generate three-dimensional fractals and explore trigonometric, hypercomplex, Mandelbox, IFS and many other 3D fractals. It will allow us to render with a large palette of customizable materials to create images and videos. This program is going to give us a very high amount of possibilities.

For those who don’t know, a fractal is a geometric object whose basic structure, fragmented or apparently irregular, is repeated at different scales. The term was proposed by the mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot in 1975. Although the term «fractal»Is recent, the objects today called fractals were well known in mathematics since the beginning of the 20th century. Many natural structures are fractal-like.

The program at hand is a free and open source 3D fractal generator for Gnu / Linux, Windows and MacOS. It is released under the GNU General Public License v3.0. It comes with support for multiple GPUs, distributed network rendering, keyframe animation, material management, texture mapping, and command line support.

General characteristics of Mandelbulber

program preferences

  • The program can realize high performance computing with multiple graphics cards (multi-GPU support via OpenCL).
  • This software is developed natively using Qt Creator for Gnu / Linux (Debian or Ubuntu).
  • Can carry out mathematical models and Monte Carlo method for photorealistic scenes
  • Renders trigonometric, hypercomplex, Mandelbox, IFS and many other 3D fractals.

available primitives

  • Raymarching 3D complex: harsh shadows, ambient occlusion, depth of field, translucency and refraction, etc.
  • This is a program developed for ARM CPU (experimental), x86 and x64 (Gnu / Linux, Windows, macOS).
  • We will have at our disposal a simple 3D browser.
  • Distributed network representation.
  • We will be able perform keyframe animation.
  • It will allow us to make a materials management.
  • Texture mapping (color, luminosity, diffusion, normal maps, displacement).

edit mandelbulber material

  • Allows the 3D object export.
  • We can establish a render queue.
  • It has a command line interface.

These are just some of the features of this program. They can consult all of them in detail from the repository on GitHub of the project.

Keyboard shortcuts

mandelbulber running

In the rendering window we can use the following keyboard shortcuts:

  • Shift + Up or Q / Shift + Down or Z: move the camera forward / backward.
  • Shift + Left or A / Shift + Right or D: move camera left / right.
  • W / S: move the camera up / down.
  • Up down left right: Rotate the camera.
  • Ctrl + (Left / Right): Rotate the camera left / right.

Install Mandelbulber on Ubuntu

Ubuntu users who want to use Mandelbulber can find it available as an AppImage package and as a flatpak package.

Via Flatpak

The first installation option that we are going to see will be using the flatpak pack available. If you use Ubuntu 20.04 and you still do not have this technology enabled on your system, you can follow the guide that a colleague wrote in this blog a while ago.

When you can install this type of package on your computer, all you have to do is open a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and execute the following command in it to start installation:

install mandelbulber as flatpak

flatpak install flathub com.github.buddhi1980.mandelbulber2

Once the installation is complete, all that remains is find the program launcher on our computer, or we can also choose run in the terminal the following command to start the program:

mandelbulber launcher

flatpak run com.github.buddhi1980.mandelbulber2


If you want remove this program from your operating system, in a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) you will only need to execute the command:

uninstall mandelbulber flatpak package

sudo flatpak uninstall com.github.buddhi1980.mandelbulber2

Download as AppImage

If you want to use this program without installing anything, users can go to the releases page from Mandelbulber and from there download the .AppImage file to save it on our computer.

As of today, the name of the downloaded file is’Mandelbulber_v2-2.25-x86_64.appimage‘, this will change based on the downloaded file name. Once the download is finished, we are going to open a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and move to the downloads folder:

cd Descargas

The next step will be give the necessary permissions to the downloaded file:

appimage file permissions

sudo chmod a+x Mandelbulber_v2-2.25-x86_64.appimage

Then we can double click on the file to start the program, but we can also run it by typing in terminal:


In your repository by GitHub users can find video tutorials, an image gallery, forums and some other resources that may be interesting for users who want to use this program.

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